It’s hard to imagine what the rest of the world might think of America right now. America is a divided country and it’s a volatile time. Which is what makes this story heartwarming, in my opinion. Bundesliga Hertha Berlin (German Soccer team for those of you who aren’t familiar) linked arms and knelt before their match today in solidarity with NFL players who are protesting the national anthem. The team tweeted “Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore! #TakeAKnee”
The stadium announcer made explicit that the demonstration was to show solidarity with the NFL anthem protests by stating:
“Berlin is colourful. Hertha BSC stands for diversity and against violence. For this reason, we are joining forces with the protest of our fellow American athletes to take a stand against discrimination. For a tolerant Berlin, but now and forevermore.”
During the last season, there were only 9 American players in the Bundesliga. Which is incredibly telling of this demonstration, don’t you think? Out of approximately 250 players in the league, that makes this an incredible showing. Now the differentiation between the two countries is that the German team did not take a knee during the national anthem. But not necessarily out of protest. Mostly because the national anthem is not usually played before Bundesliga matches. Which makes you wonder if that’s the way to go with this?
America has long been known as a melting pot. If you’re an immigrant, you are supposed to take on the culture and the customs of American life. This is much different than in other countries, which tend to celebrate diversity. But I think we’re starting to see a cultural shift when it comes to wanting to be diverse. This might be a cultural shift that has been occurring over decades, but it seems to be present. People want to emigrate to America because they see it as the place they can accomplish their dreams. The place where anything is possible. But when they arrive, they are being forced to assimilate in some ways.
The current administration certainly looks at immigrants in a way that suggests they have done something wrong. How dare you try to bring your culture and your customs to this homogenous nation? Getting back to the Bundesliga, it’s interesting to me that they are showing solidarity. It’s well documented that there is no love lost between Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, so perhaps she put them up to this? That’s mere speculation, but it does seem plausible in many ways.
The soccer team took a knee to demonstrate that they too feel there is injustice in the world. This particular issue is at a steady simmer in America right now, and it has a long history. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other injustices happening in other parts of the world. How we treat our citizens speaks to who we are as a nation. I am not going to turn this post into the ways in which the government has marginalized different groups for centuries because that’s not the point. The point is that the German soccer (or football as they say) team is standing shoulder to shoulder with the players in the NFL who want to #TakeAKnee. Which has now turned this into an international protest. Who will join next?